Is Hendersonville getting its own version of Asheville’s South Slope brewing district?
Though the numbers aren’t quite on the level of its Buncombe County neighbors, a small cluster of breweries has set up shop in the modestly sized downtown’s Seventh and Eighth Avenue area. The latest player is Guidon Brewing Co., next door to Southern Appalachian Brewery and one street over from Triskelion Brewing Co.
Guidon takes its name from a type of military flag, which inspired the brewery’s logo. The operation is owned by Connie and Mike Baer, the latter of whom was a homebrewer for 15 years and had a career in the U.S. Army.
“When I was leaving the Army, I was honestly having a hard time finding a job because I didn’t have any industry experience,” Baer says. “I was living down in Georgia, and a friend of mine was in the beer industry. He suggested I open a brewery.”
The Baers started scouting locations, beginning with a recommendation to check out Gatlinburg, Tenn. Mike had also heard about Asheville from a colleague, information that wound up coming in handy.
“Gatlinburg was not what we were looking for,” he says. “On our way back to Georgia, we saw the [highway] sign for Asheville, so we stopped and liked what we saw. We hit a few breweries and decided it was a place worth looking into.”
Rather than join the busy Asheville beer scene, the Baers picked Hendersonville for their brewery. At first, however, Mike wasn’t excited about being next to the long-established Southern Appalachian.
“We didn’t want to seem too aggressive or threatening,” he says. “But the condition of the building was right, the cost was right, and this is an up-and-coming part of town. We made it a point to go to [Southern Appalachian] to tell them [of our plans]. The other breweries in town have been more than helpful to us.”
Guidon is brewing on a 3.5-barrel system. The brewery opened Jan. 16 with a porter, stout, pale ale, IPA and a cream ale. Baer eventually wants to add lagers, which will be crafted by Dustin Griffin, formerly of One World Brewing. Baer is also looking at some limited self-distribution.
“We’re not a brewery that will make 20 different beers,” he says. “We’ll have eight to nine year-round beers and a couple of rotating seasonal selections.”
The Baers have created what Mike calls a “cozy, inviting atmosphere” for their taproom. They built a deck, and there’s a loft with couches and chairs. There’s also a dedicated dart space, live music on weekends and a Tuesday open mic night on the horizon.
As for deciphering Guidon’s logo, the “B” stands for Baer, the “4” represents the couple and their two children, and the “2” reflects the family union of the U.S. and Connie Baer’s homeland of Germany.
Guidon Brewing Co. is at 415 Eighth Ave. E., Hendersonville. Tasting room hours during the winter are 4-10 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, noon-10 p.m. Saturday and noon-9 p.m. Sunday. The tasting room is closed Mondays. For more details, visit guidonbrewing.com.